It is the most ancient method. The wick is repeatedly dipped into the hot – and thus liquid – wax. However as the wax temperature is only slightly above the melting point, the wick is able to cool a thin layer of wax whenever it is dipped. The result is a candle showing concentric layers that are easily detectable by cutting the candle. Once this job was entirely dome by hand, nowadays there are some machines that do it good, thus saving us quite a lot of fatigue.
A variant use to be the so-called “spoon” system. The same effect is reached by pouring the wax from the top to the bottom with a small pot and simultaneously twisting the wick. This procedure is now completely dropped but it may be intriguing to try it.
Another ancient technique is the so-called MOULDING, where the liquid wax is poured into moulds made of different materials. Once the moulds used to be either single or in groups on 6, and cooling was entrusted to time and to natural air ventilation. The 20th century saw the development of the first water-cooled machines with many metallic moulds (up to 1000). Production was becoming totally or semi-automatic, thus reducing costs and granting a constant result. Single and naturally cooled molds are still used to manufacture fancy candles; these moulds are made of silicone rubber and remind those used to bake cakes.
The drawing technique is not as popular. The wick is drawn between two reels 10 meters apart, having a great diameter. The wick is repeatedly dipped in a wax tank and the resulting candle gets bigger at any turn. There are continuous machines that can manufacture big quantities (usually white candles for the church).
One of the most popular techniques to manufacture big quantities is the so-called extrusion, that uses wax powder at room temperature. The wax powder is pressed in a cylinder and let out modelled by a rigmarole. This technique is very flexible but can be used only for big quantities.
Wax powder is used also by pressing machines that press a predetermined quantity of wax in a mould. The result is usually a drilled wax cylinder to be completed inserting a pre-waxed wick with a sustainer. This system is used to make votive lights but also pillar and ball candles to be finished later by dipping them in special coloured wax.
Filling a container with liquid wax and waiting for it to get solid can sound as the easiest way to make a candle. Actually this technique is quite recent, as it is not suitable to make candles aiming mainly at lighting a place (that used to be the most important market) but mostly fragranced or garden candles.